There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of discovering a new beauty or skincare product that delivers on what it promises and doesn’t cost the earth. So we undertook a little in-house group survey to share our best budget beauty buys so far this season – specifically for items coming in at under $30 and which have become staples in our lives.
Mecca Max Screen Saver SPF30 Broad Spectrum Facial Sunscreen
Finding a light and non-greasy sunscreen that looks (and feels) great under makeup has been something of a holy grail quest. This new generation Mecca Max formula has been specifically developed with naturally derived emollients to absorb quickly and for a dry touch finish when applied on skin. With broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, it’s light and easy to apply, with an invisible matte finish. Infused with aloe vera, goji berry extract, vitamin E, and chamomile, this sunscreen is 100% vegan and cruelty-free with no fragrance, synthetic dyes, essential oils, or parabens that might irritate skin. Pro-Tip: If you’re an oily or combination skin type, skip moisturiser and apply one teaspoon of Screen Saver SPF30 and massage in until absorbed. If your skin is inclined to be dry, apply your usual moisturiser first, followed by one teaspoon of Screen Saver SPF30 as your last step before makeup.
Bondi Sands Everyday Skincare
This skincare collection is a recent discovery and we’re loving it as an effective but affordable option for everyday use. Better still, you can mix and match to create your perfect (and easy) skincare routine. We opted for the Fresh’n Up Nourishing Gel Cleanser, Daydream Whipped Moisturiser, Eye Spy Brightening Eye Cream, Gold’n Hour Brightening Serum, and the finishing touch of Sunny Daze Hydrating SPF50 Moisturiser (we also added the Fountain of Youth Serum to our kit, featuring Bakuchiol and Rosella extract, which we’ve been using on our face and the backs of our hands – IYKYK). Packed with goodies including Vitamin C, Aloe Vera, Hyaluronic Acid, and Squalane, it’s the ultimate spring pick ‘n’ mix treat.
Proudly made in Aotearoa from botanical ingredients and essential oils, OMni Balms have earned a permanent place in our handbag. These versatile little pots of joy not only help deliver nourished lips but thanks to the sweet tints of colour, we also use them for a natural glow on cheeks, replacing a highlighter or cream. They also come in handy to help tame brows and even for a little cuticle or dry elbow love. Surprisingly versatile and made from 100% natural and botanical ingredients.
Ardell Nail Addict Eco Manis
We’re all for a quick fix when it comes to event prep, so this new collection of press-on nails is the ultimate must-have in your beauty kit. The consciously crafted offering is made from 94% recycled plastic and packaged in 100% recycled and sustainable material. Each kit contains 30 nails, glue, a file, and cuticle stick. Miraculous makeover wish granted. Available at Farmers and selected pharmacies.
Revlon Colourstay Micro Brow Pencil
Spring beauty is all about a strong brow – and this precision micro tip allows you to create natural hair-like strokes (which don’t budge for up to 16 hours). Plus, there’s a spoolie brush to groom along the way and blend out the natural-looking colours. Brows are nourished at the same time thanks to Argan and Marula oil in the buildable formula.
It’s hard to go past this proven performer in the lash game. Natio has always been something of a favourite, consistently delivering redesigned and reimagined formulations as lash trends evolve. With purpose-designed wands and formulations across Extreme Volume, Amplify & Separate Volumising, Boost & Curl, and, of course, the always-needed-in-case-of-emergency Waterproof formulation, these Natio offerings are all priced from around $20 and deliver reliable clump-free lash impact.
Kit: Urban Hand Salve
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in saying that our hands have taken a battering in these COVID years, thanks to the variety of astringent anti-bacterial hand disinfectants required to be used at many locations. So it was a welcome relief to discover this hand balm from kit:. It’s ultra-rich and the perfect prescription for hard-working hands and stressed-out skin. Enriched with restorative oils and superfoods, ingredients include macadamia oil, liquorice, ginseng, rosemary, and basil oils. The garden-green forest aroma offers a welcome sensory respite too.
Earthwise Nourish Hand Wash
If you haven’t yet discovered the Earthwise Nourish Lemongrass and Manuka Honey collection of products, then take a look on the shelves next time you’re at the supermarket. We’re a little obsessed with the uplifting fragrance of the hand soap (plus, it’s grey water and septic tank safe), and also partial to the exceptional value 1L Coconut, Shea Butter & Manuka Honey body wash. Fun Fact: Earthwise is one of New Zealand’s oldest natural brands, specialising in a range priced from $5–$12. Crafted with botanicals, essential oils, and naturally derived ingredients, it also includes shampoo and conditioner.